National Research Foundation: The beginning of India’s academic renaissance

by The Technical Blogs


Throughout history, India has been hailed as a centre for research and innovation, with ancient learning centres like Nalanda and Takshashila making significant contributions to knowledge.

From scholars like Sushruta, Panini, and Aryabhatta to thinkers like Gargi and Kautilya, India’s ancient civilisation left an indelible mark with profound achievements. Yet, over time, India’s position as a research and education leader waned.

Nevertheless, a new era of transformation is dawning, as India takes decisive steps to reclaim its global leadership in research and education.


In recent years, an increasing number of Indian students have sought higher education opportunities abroad, often driven by the perception that quality education is better accessible overseas.

However, India’s educational landscape is rapidly evolving, driven by government initiatives that foster research and innovation to fortify educational institutions. Initiatives like the Atal Innovation Mission and Atal Tinkering Labs nurture innovation and incubation within the country.

Investing in research and development is crucial for national progress and prosperity. India has made substantial progress in this regard, with its Global Innovation Index ranking improving from 76th in 2014 to 40th in 2022.

Increased government funding for research and innovation programs has been a significant contributor to this progress. By emphasising the importance of science, research, and innovation, India is paving the way for a thriving future.


Research and innovation are vital for driving economic growth and national development. India’s prowess in these areas has grown substantially in the last two decades. The number of research articles, published by Indian experts, has increased, placing India third after China and the United States of America.

This increased emphasis on academic and scientific activities strengthens India’s status in the global research community and develops collaboration with top nations in a variety of sectors.


Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the union government has launched several initiatives to revitalise India’s academic landscape and make it a knowledge powerhouse.

One of the most significant milestones in this transformative journey has been the passage of the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill, 2023, aimed at revolutionizing the country’s research ecosystem and catalysing the transformation of Indian institutions into world-class Centres of Excellence (CoEs).

With the NRF now officially established, it stands as the apex body in the country, providing high-level strategic direction for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in multiple crucial fields, including natural sciences, engineering and technology, environmental and earth sciences, health and agriculture, and the scientific and technological interfaces of humanities and social sciences.

The NRF boasts an impressive array of functions, from formulating comprehensive research and development roadmaps to facilitating and financing the growth of R&D infrastructure in universities, colleges, and research institutions.

Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in providing grants for research proposals, supporting the translation of research into capital-intensive technology, and actively encouraging international collaboration.

The NRF’s vision extends to fostering investments from both private and public sector entities, further accelerating India’s research ecosystem’s growth.


With the NRF’s support, Indian institutions will be recognised as world-class centers of excellence, attracting students and scholars from around the world.

As Indian institutions embrace global standards and collaborate with international partners, the exodus of Indian students seeking education abroad is likely to decline. Instead, more students will choose to pursue their academic aspirations within India, enticed by its academic excellence and diverse research opportunities.

India’s rich history of research and innovation is on the cusp of a revival, thanks to the imminent introduction of the NRF. By investing in research, development, and innovation, India is poised to reclaim its position as a global leader in academia.

With an even greater influx of international students seeking to contribute to India’s thriving innovation ecosystem, the stage is set for India to rise as a true beacon of intellectual brilliance once again.

As the nation embraces the mantra of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan,” India is well on its way to reclaiming its educational glory and cementing its place as a global leader in research and innovation.

(The author is the Minister of State for Education, Government of India. Views are personal.)

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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